St. Matthew's

Extraordinary Congregations – A Quick Tour through L.A.

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by Amalia Vagts, Executive Director

Last weekend, I headed out to Los Angeles for Brenda Bos’ ordination. It was a marvelous celebration. While in town, I had the chance to connect with four extraordinary congregations – communities of faith that are allies in our work to affirm and support ministry by LGBTQ rostered leaders. Together, LGBTQ leaders and extraordinary congregations proclaim God’s love and seek justice for all people.

St. Matthew'sThe ordination was hosted by St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, Brenda’s home congregation. St. Matthew’s was the home congregation for Joel Workin and was previously served by late Bp. Paul Egertson and current Bp. R. Guy Erwin. This faith community has a long history of lifting up and supporting LGBTQ leaders and allies.

That evening, I had the great fortune of joining a group of people from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Santahollywood bowl Monica for their annual outing to the Hollywood Bowl. A group of 25 or so gathered for a picnic meal ahead of time and then journeyed up the hill to hear the L.A. Philharmonic. It was a great time catching up with Pastor Jim Boline (Proclaim member) and members of the congregation. This wonderful group has been the host congregation for THREE Proclaim interns, including Brenda Bos, Becca Seely, and a week from now, Joel Bergeland.

beach crossThe following morning, after a little “God on the beach” (see the cross I found?), I headed to Lutheran Church of the Master. This congregation played a major role in the ONE VOICE campaign back in 2009 when they worked together to raise $40,000 in support of the allied Lutheran LGBTQ organizations. They have continued their witness through support of the L.A. area Proclaim internship and through the prophetic preaching and teaching of Pastor Ioan Ittu, a strong ally to the LGBTQ community.

And while I only had time for a drop-by visit, I was able to check in on St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church where Pastor Caleb Crainer (Proclaim member) serves. St. Andrew’s has grown in their witness in the past year, becoming an RIC congregation and expanding their visible welcome by placing a rainbow flag prominently in front of the building.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries does much to highlight rostered leaders. Equally part of the story are the individuals who make up the congregations that call and support LGBTQ rostered leaders. It was fantastic to be in the company of so many engaged, committed, and faithful people this past weekend.

Was your congregation not listed? A gal can only do SO much in 48 hours in L.A. Hope to catch you next time!


Amalia and Bp. Finck

Amalia Vagts is Executive Director of ELM and is thankful for chances to see extraordinary leaders and congregations in person as she travels around. She also gets to meet up with extraordinary bishops from time to time too!  She is pictured here with Bp. Murray Finck of the Pacifica Synod who presided at Brenda’s ordination, along with Bp. R. Guy Erwin of the Southwest California Synod.

2 Replies to “Extraordinary Congregations – A Quick Tour through L.A.”

  1. It was great to see you and thank you for the very nice plug for LCM and Pastor Ittu. You did a LOT in 48 hours and looked very relaxed in the process.
    Pax, Sara

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